Tuesday, April 1, 2008

nostalgia and history

What intrigued me the most about the readings this week was the relationship between memory and preservation, alongside the ideas of nostalgia and imagination. When Appadurai talked about cultural identity and the nation-state conflict, it reminded me of Ernst’s idea that there will be nostalgia for the traditional narrative history and archive when the move to archaeology is made. Existing in the time of the internet, and light speed content and information trafficking, I feel that it is becoming more and more difficult to form a national identity, as our music tastes, fashions, and ideologies begin to become cross-cultural (as Appadurai points out). Because of this, we feel that our hi-story slowly recedes from us, and we desperately cling to the cliff of our own cultural identity. Not only do we cling to our nation to try and give us our historical narrative, but I feel in America we start to cling to our heritage histories, even if our ancestors immigrated to the United States a while ago. Perhaps, it is this rapid exchange of information which makes us cling to it more, trying to define our history as independent of our nation, and slowly connecting to the media of our “mother” or “father” lands. Nostalgia for our histories and cultures becomes more apparent in the digital realm, but why is this so? Is it our need to define ourselves outside of a digital, non-culturally biased realm? Or do we feel that all archival skills are being erased so we try desperately to keep something? The relation between nostalgia and archives was something which very much interested me this week.

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